A Quick Guide to Insulated Wall Panel Terminology

May 10, 2019

Are you looking into insulated wall panels for your next building or renovation?  It can be a surprisingly complicated topic for such a simple concept, and there are a number of terms and ratings which are specific to insulation.  Understanding the jargon is key to making sure you get the right insulated wall panels for your purpose, which are capable of standing up to the heat you expect them to face.

Here’s a quick guide to the most common terms and rating systems.

Four Wall Insulation Terms You Should Know

  1. Hour Fire Rating

One of the most important aspects of an insulated wall panel, of course, is how well it can contain a fire.  There’s an ASTM International standard to cover this.  Simply put, the wall is exposed to direct fire for one or more hours, and then it’s sprayed with water from a full-blast fire hose.  If the wall survives intact, it passes.  So, a 1-hour fire rated panel is certified to survive for at least an hour, a 2-hour panel will survive at least two hours, and so forth.

  1. Flame Spread Rating

Another important issue with wall panels is whether they can catch fire and, if so, how easily.  This rating is handled by the National Fire Protection Agency and is a simple 0-100 ranking.  The higher the number, the easier it is for the wall to catch fire.  0 ratings go to any material which is absolutely inflammable, such as asbestos-cement blends.

  1. Smoke Developed Index

The smoke developed index goes side-by-side with the flame spread rating and covers how much smoke a wall panel can be expected to produce as it smolders and/or burns.  This is another arbitrary 0-100 scale, where lower is better.

  1. Class Rating

Finally, insulated wall panels can receive an overall class rating, generally either Class A, B, or C.  In most circumstances, you’ll want Class A paneling for your building.  A Class A fire-rated wall panel has a flame spread rating no higher than 25, and a smoke developed index no higher than 50.

Structural Panels Inc. Are World Leaders in Insulation Solutions

We create Canadian-engineered insulation solutions for hot rooms, cold rooms, and everything in between.  Companies around the world rely on us to protect their assets and workers – and you can too.  Contact us directly to learn more about our state-of-the-art insulated wall panels.